EXCLUSIVE: THE WALKING DEAD's Michael Rooker On Playing Merle Dixon

One half of the famous Dixon brothers took time out of his extremely busy schedule to answer some questions for us about his time on The Walking Dead, Activision's video game, and more which you can read after the jump!

Follow Alex:
By Alex Lynch - 9/17/2012
Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) first appeared in the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead, and fans instantly loved the character because of his explicit and relentless behavior. We last saw the real Merle in Season 1, handcuffed to the roof an Atlanta building. However, we do know he has escaped by chopping off his hand and somehow made his way to Woodbury. Actor Michael Rooker is responsible for bringing this new character to life and took some time out of his tremendous schedule to answer a few questions about the zombie drama.


Initially, what attracted you to the role of Merle Dixon?
The role of Merle Dixon and me being in the Walking Dead is a karma job for me. A couple decades ago there was a chance to work with Frank Darabont and it didn't work out...and I wanted to do something for him for a while. Merle started out as one episode and they just didn't have a lot budgeted for the character. And then it turned into something wonderful,...a challenging role that I am honored to play.
.

After filming Season 1, did you have any clue on Merle’s fate?
Honestly? No. I didn't have a clue....and I'm still trying to figure it out. [laughs]


Has The Walking Dead changed your view on zombie media at all?
I don't think so. I mean zombies have always been popular in movies and books....and even before Night of the Living Dead, the idea of zombies was present. Of course the Internet has broadened the effect, connecting fans across continents.




Merle Dixon is set to star alongside Daryl in Activision’s The Walking Dead video game. Are you involved in the project?
Yes, I plan to be a part of the game.


Merle was an original character to the TV Show. How did you go about making this character your own?
The character is my own. I mean, the source material was amazing and I was able to simply tap into my southern upbringing and let the character flow from there. I'm very fortunate to work with such great material and actors and crew...and I think as a result it's been some of the best work I've done in my career.


Do you think Merle Dixon could fit in The Walking Dead’s comic universe?
Yes, of course! [pauses] But, uhhh, you'll have to take that up with [Robert] Kirkman.


The last time we saw Merle, he was a figment of Daryl’s imagination. Will Season 3’s Merle be very different from that “ghost”?
Delusion or not, Merle will definitely let his feelings be known [laughs]


How good is your relationship with the rest of the cast?
It's an amazing group of great actors and they're great people...especially my little brother Daryl. [pauses] I mean Norman [Reedus].


Merle has a very explicit nature. Has anything you acted out so far made you uncomfortable?
Nah.....I mean being uncomfortable is a good thing for an actor. How I feel as a person can't be allowed to influence all of what I do as a character. And Merle is definitely a character.


Are there any Marvel or DC characters that you think you could play or voice?
Every single one [laughs]


Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions!
Thanks for the questions man! Appreciate the support!


What are you most looking forward to from Season 3 of The Walking Dead? Sound off with your thoughts below, and don't forget that you can HEAR Michael Rooker in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and catch him on TV this fall on The Walking Dead.


Follow Michael Rooker On Twitter
DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and "safe harbor" provisions. CBM will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content. You may also learn more about our copyright and trademark policies HERE.
2
LIKE!
25 Comments
supermarioworldE - 9/17/2012, 6:24 PM
I lost alot of interest in the show following season 2, but it's a plus that Michael Rooker's returning.

Shame we can't get Darabont back.
ForceOfLegend - 9/17/2012, 6:40 PM
Great actor! I can't wait for season three! I miss Frank at the helm, but I am hoping the new runner can take the show, and...well run with it ;)
Rowsdower - 9/17/2012, 7:11 PM
Love Michael Rooker. Hate this show and the comics.
preacher - 9/17/2012, 7:45 PM
@Rowsdower-how can you hate the comics man? I appreciate that everyone has his/her own opinion, I'm just wondering HOW it is you came to hate the comics.

I for one am a huge fan of them. The TV series, not so much, but I've learned to accept the tv show as just being a part of a shared universe, different, but the same. As far as the comics go, the last collected tpb was pretty friggin boring, not a lot happened in it so I'm counting on the next one to make up for that!
NosferatuZodd - 9/17/2012, 7:47 PM
time for Merle and Daryl spin-off. both characters are too good to play second fiddle to Rick or Michonne.
LoudLon - 9/17/2012, 8:14 PM
Great actor, great guy. He brings a lot to every role he plays, even very minor ones.
ThaReaperAssassin - 9/17/2012, 9:42 PM
Rooker's no rookie, he'll take your girl and your cookies.
damntree - 9/17/2012, 10:15 PM
I'm hoping for some brother vs. brother action.
Jollem - 9/17/2012, 11:29 PM
only thing that can kill merle is merle
IncredibleKulk - 9/18/2012, 4:52 AM
Im a fan of Darabont too @supermario but Glen Mazarra has done ten times better with the show then Frank did.
CrowPirate1 - 9/18/2012, 5:27 AM
Daryl, Merle, Michone and Rick.. and ZOMBIES. the only reasons I will keep watching.

well.. and to see Lori die soon. ha
MartianSupermanhunter22 - 9/18/2012, 8:39 AM
Ready to see some brother on brother action........uhhhhhhh( eyes shift side to side )
TesDaGreat - 9/18/2012, 8:39 AM
JimmyPesto - 9/18/2012, 10:44 AM
I could hear him as Bruno Mannheim
TheSoulEater - 9/18/2012, 1:44 PM
I know i'm going to wish he's dead through out the whole season
justified1 - 9/18/2012, 2:22 PM
i can just see Daryl handing him his rotting hand. here you are brother!
Grimm - 9/18/2012, 8:06 PM
I love both the show and comics. S2 was epic. When a show can evoke feelings in me, it's a good show! Life has created such cynicism in me... anyways. Every one has an opinion, and I've been a zombie fan for longer than most people on this site has been alive, and THIS is a great show.
Grimm - 9/18/2012, 8:07 PM
WolvieZombie, I think it was a halucination, but yeah... he is badass!
KingEmperor - 9/19/2012, 5:19 AM
Instead of a bayonet as his right hand, it should have been a chainsaw.
kevshardlemonade - 9/19/2012, 11:21 AM
I cant believe no on here mentioned Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer. Its his best movie and a classic shocker.
ZombieHunter - 9/19/2012, 4:47 PM
T-Dog, your days are numbered...Merle is coming!!!!
Boogie138 - 9/20/2012, 6:40 AM
@kevshardlemonade: THANK YOU!!!! was about to post that. great film, every horror fan who has not seen henry is missing a stellar performance
megabatfan - 9/20/2012, 11:23 AM
I found the TV series started out with a bang (Season 1) then got kinda slow up until mid-season 2. The comics for me started out slow & then the pace just went up, up & away. I love them both. I don't see the point in making a tv series that would follow the comics every single step of the way. The changes made makes it more interesting cuz you never really know what'll happen next. You may think you'll have an idea based on how the comics went & then BAM, something happens you never expected (Dale's death).
So bring it on season 3.... can't wait
SatanInTheHouse - 9/22/2012, 10:57 AM
Saw the games. Now I hate the show. There is no reason to remake the game.
KickUrBooty - 10/15/2012, 1:53 PM
ZombieHunter, why would T-Dog's days be numbered just because Merle is coming back? I doubt it very much if he's afraid of him and so he's a racist redneck, so what! T-Dog was the only one who tried to help him when he was left on the roof. I would have left his a$$ up on the roof to because he has no good intentions toward anyone; he's just a rotten human being. However, I like the way the actor plays this character; he's someone you love to hate. Sorta kinda like the actor (Robert Knepper) who played T-Bag in Prison Break.

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.